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View Diary: Book review: Jake Tapper's 'The Outpost' (112 comments)

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  •  I just finished Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Julia Grey, KenBee, kurt, jack 1966

    Karl was a graduate of Yale and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and also a Marine lieutenant in Vietnam. That sort of combination is rare enough to remind me of JFK and John Kerry. Among his awards are the Navy Cross, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. His story is born of fearsome personal experience.  

    The book was written as a novel, but it closely follows Karl's experiences in Vietnam, revolving around a base named Matterhorn in the jungle near the Laotian border. The book is grim and and filled with grewsome tales of small unit jungle combat and suffering, but it is well enough written to understand  it as cathartic purge of what came home with Marlantes.

    Matterhorn was a base not unlike Tapper's Combat Outpost Keating. It was situated at the extreme range of support from artillery and aircraft, it was built once, blown up and abandoned once, and then had to be retaken from the NVA at great cost.

    Marlantes is frank and unsparing in his treatment of the racial divide and conflict within the Marines. This aspect of the book is one which sets it apart from many others which avoid this hot-button topic.

    I recommend Matterhorn to those who can suffer through the book with the Marines and by so doing gain insight into what this part of the Vietnam War was all about.

    Eradicate magical thinking

    by Zinman on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 01:35:46 PM PDT

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